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Vacation in Australia and New Zealand

Vacation in Australia and New Zealand

By Howard Rodgers

We recently spent a month traveling to Australia and New Zealand for a family vacation. There wasn't enough room for a notebook computer, but there's always enough room for my HP Palmtop. In almost every place we stayed, I was able to hook my PCMCIA modem into the room phone jack. The Palmtops built-in DataComm program worked fine. There were local access numbers for CompuServe in most of the major cites in Australia and New Zealand. I was able to send e-mail postcards to friends and family subscribing to CompuServe, America On Line, or Internet. Friends and family appreciated hearing that we were alright. Also, we were able to communicate needs that came up during the trip. We had certain documents faxed to us, arranged transportation home from the airport, etc. To handle this by phone could have cost us as much as $4 per minute at peak time from some of the hotels.

Other ways the Palmtop came in handy on vacation:

  • Instant conversions the Palmtop provided instant conversion of money, temperatures (Celsius to Fahrenheit), weight and distances. Most hotels provided scales in kilos. The Palmtops conversion capabilities in HP Calc made it easy to chart weight gain due to vacation eating habits.
  • Access to addresses and phone numbers Phone Book provided contact information for e-mail and postcards. It was nice to have the travel agents number handy, when things didn't go according to plan.
  • Time zone conversion World Time made it easy to see what the time was back home, so we could figure out when to call.
  • Itinerary always with you I stored mine in a Lotus spreadsheet.
  • Quicken check references always with you I kept the DOS version of Quicken on my Flash card. Having check book information with me enabled me to supply a check number and date to a hotel when there was a question about payment for a reservation.
  • Figuring out who owed what we sometimes split expenses with another family we were traveling with. A Lotus spreadsheet made it easy to keep a running total.
  • Reconciling a bill in one case I had to send a letter to a hotel when I got home to reconcile a bill. I did this using Memo on the long plane flight home, while the facts were still fresh in my mind.



There were other uses I could have put the Palmtop to, including tracking the foods I ate and tracking travel & credit card expenses and hotel charges to make sure the bill was correct at checkout. The fact that this little marvel of technology can do so much boggles my mind. Even though I own a color multimedia CD notebook computer, I'm more impressed with the Palmtop because its so small and runs practically forever on a pair of batteries. I'm waiting to see what Hewlett-Packard does next with the Palmtop (maybe a backlit VGA screen), because the current Palmtop is a hard act to follow.

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